Friday, April 13, 2007

Mervyn LeRoy at St Donats

As we all know newspaper tycoon William Randolph Hearst bought St Donats Castle in 1925 and turned it into a love-nest for himself and mistress Marion Davies. Apparently Hearst's pet name for Davies's clitoris was "Rosebud". When Orson Welles famously alluded to it in Citizen Kane Hearst was said to be mucho livid. I digress...

Hearst often invited his friends to stay at the Welsh castle - Charlie Chaplin and a young John F Kennedy to name but two. The above photograph taken in 1935 shows some vacationing Hollywood big-wigs standing outside the front portcullis. The guy on the far left is none other than film director Mervyn LeRoy.

Amongst LeRoy's most memorable flicks were Little Caesar (1931), starring Edward G Robinson; I am a Fugitive From a Chain Gang (1932); and The Bad Seed (1956) based upon William March's cult novel. One of his lesser known directorial efforts Unholy Partners (1941) is about a newspaperman who starts up a tabloid with the help of a gangster. Interesting.

Incidentally the woman next to him in the photo is his wife Doris. She was the daughter of Harry M Warner who along with his siblings founded Warner Brothers Pictures. That's Harry, second from the right.